Connect & Communicate

Using Wi-Fi at the UW

Using Wi-Fi at the UW

Overview of UW Wireless

The University of Washington’s wireless network is designed to be a convenient supplement to the wired network for general functions such as Web browsing and email. Wireless “access points” located throughout many buildings and common areas of all three UW campuses allow compatible wireless devices to connect to the UW network, as well as UW NetID authenticated access to the Internet.

  • Connecting

    See below on this page for basic instructions on how to connect to UW networks with wireless (WiFi).

  • Locations

    The wireless service map or list shows where you can find wireless on campus. Most buildings offer wireless connectivity.

  • Policy

    The UW Wireless Policy explains how the UW wireless infrastructure is suitable for some types of uses and not others. Please familiarize yourself with the policy before using UW wireless, particularly if your activities are likely to generate high volumes of network traffic.

    Installation and management of wireless on UW campuses is done by UW Information Technology. Do-it-yourself wireless networking is not allowed.

  • Configuring

    Older computers might require some setup, although most newer computers require no special configuration to be used at the UW.

  • Visitor Access

    You can assign temporary UW NetIDs to visitors if you are a UW faculty or staff member. Please review the Temporary UW NetID Support Roles and Responsibilities information before creating a temporary UW NetID.

  • Wireless in UW Residence Halls

    Be careful if you choose to set up a wireless access point in your UW residence hall. With most rooms equipped with Internet connections and wireless available in many of the common areas in UW residence halls, you probably will not need it, and if you set it up improperly it can create major problems for you and the networks.

How Do I Connect to the UW Wireless Network?

The UW’s network is named “University of Washington” and is the one you should use when on a UW campus. You may see other networks listed, but they are not supported by UW Information Technology and may be unsafe to use.

Logging In

No login is required to use UW’s wireless service unless you want to connect to services or sites outside the UW.

  • If you use your browser to connect to a non-UW website, you automatically will be prompted to enter your UW NetID and password.
  • If you are using a non-Web service (e.g., a secure terminal or file transfer tool) to communicate outside the UW, you must FIRST run a browser and view a Web page outside the UW to bring up the authentication page.
  • If your wireless device does not have a Web browser (e.g., some phones, printers, etc. do not), see information on ‘long-term registration’ below.

Once you have successfully logged in (authenticated) you will be able to use services outside the UW for up to 12 hours without having to re-authenticate.

Long-term Registration

University of Washington, students, faculty, and staff also have an option to easily register their computer (or other wireless device) so that it is not necessary to authenticate each day they connect from the UW campus wireless network to resources outside the UW.

  • If your computer or device has a Web browser

    When you try to connect to a URL off campus, you will see the “Login with your UW NetID” page. Click the “Remember this computer” checkbox and then login using your UW NetID and password.

  • If your wireless device does not have a Web browser (e.g., some phones, printers )

    A request for a long-term registration may be submitted to UW Information Technology by sending email to Please include the MAC address (hardware ID number) of the wireless device in your request to speed up the process.

  • Manual registration

    You can create a long-term registration for your device yourself using the register service. You can use any device or connection, but you will need the MAC address of the 802.xx interface in the device you wish to register. The procedure for obtaining the MAC address varies from device to device (or even between versions of software). Consult the vendor of your device for details.

  • Unregister

    You can unregister any device you registered using the unregister page. You will see a list of the devices currently associated with your UW NetID.

A long-term registration remains active as long as:

  • The registering person has a current faculty/staff/student affiliation with the UW.
  • The device has been on the network in the last 100 days.

Last modified: July 9, 2013